Alpine, Texas

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Alpine, Texas
Alpine texas.jpg
Nickname(s): The Heart of Big Bend
Location in the state of Texas
Location in the state of Texas
Coordinates: 30°21′39″N 103°39′56″W / 30.36083°N 103.66556°W / 30.36083; -103.66556Coordinates: 30°21′39″N 103°39′56″W / 30.36083°N 103.66556°W / 30.36083; -103.66556[1]
Country United States
State Texas
County Brewster
 • Mayor Jerri Johnson
 • Total 4.7 sq mi (12.1 km2)
 • Land 4.7 sq mi (12.1 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 4,475 ft (1,364 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 5,905
 • Density 1,259/sq mi (486.2/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 79830-79832
Area code(s) 432
FIPS code 48-02104[2]
GNIS feature ID 1377837[3]

Alpine is a city in and the county seat of Brewster County, Texas, United States.[4] The population was 5,786 people at the 2000 census, and had increased to 5,905 by 2010.[5]


Brewster County Courthouse

The area had been a campsite for cattlemen tending their herds between 1878 and the spring of 1882, when a town of tents was created by railroad workers and their families. Because the section of the railroad was called Osborne, that was the name of the small community for a brief time. The railroad needed access to water from springs owned by brothers named Daniel and Thomas Murphy, so it entered into an agreement with the Murphys to change the name of the section and settlement to Murphyville in exchange for a contract to use the spring. In November 1883 the Murphys registered a plat for the town of Murphyville with the county clerk of Presidio County. The town's name was changed to Alpine on February 3, 1888, following a petition by its residents. At this time a description of the town mentioned a dozen houses, three saloons, a hotel and rooming house, a livery stable, a butcher shop, and a drugstore, which also housed the post office.[6]

Alpine grew very slowly until Sul Ross State Normal College (now Sul Ross State University) was opened in 1921. The opening of Big Bend National Park in the 1940s further spurred the growth of the town. The population was estimated at 396 in 1904. By 1927 it had risen to 3,000. The 1950 census reported Alpine's population at 5,256, but the 1960 census reported only 4,740 residents. A high of approximately 6,200 was reached by 1976. In 1980 residents numbered 5,465 and businesses 108. In 1990 the population was 5,637. In 2000 the population grew to 5,786.[6]


Alpine is located on U.S. Route 90 about 26 miles (42 km) east of Marfa. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.7 square miles (12.1 km2), all land.[7]


According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Alpine has a semi-arid climate, abbreviated "BSk" on climate maps.[8]


Census Pop.
1920 931
1930 3,495 275.4%
1940 3,866 10.6%
1950 5,261 36.1%
1960 4,740 −9.9%
1970 5,971 26.0%
1980 5,465 −8.5%
1990 5,622 2.9%
2000 5,786 2.9%
2010 5,905 2.1%
1850-2000,[9] 2010[7]

As of the 2000 census,[2] there were 5,786 people, 2,429 households, and 1,435 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,416.5 people per square mile (547.5/km²). There were 2,852 housing units at an average density of 698.2 per square mile (269.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 79.19% White, 1.33% African American, 0.81% Native American, 0.45% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 15.45% from other races, and 2.70% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 50.31% of the population.

There were 2,429 households out of which 28.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.7% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.9% were non-families. 34.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.3% under the age of 18, 14.1% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 14.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 93.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $23,979, and the median income for a family was $31,658. Males had a median income of $27,720 versus $19,575 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,587. About 15.5% of families and 20.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.3% of those under age 18 and 17.1% of those age 65 or over.


Colleges and universities[edit]

Alpine is home to the main campus of Sul Ross State University, a member of the Texas State University System, named for Texas Governor Lawrence Sullivan Ross. Born in Iowa Territory in 1838, Ross was one year old when he and his family moved to the Republic of Texas, settling in Waco. Sul Ross was an original Texian. Ross was a graduate of Baylor University, which was chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas. He commanded a large brigade of Texas cavalry during the Civil War. They were among the most notorious raiders behind Union-occupied territory in the Trans-Mississippi Department. Ross was the only native of Iowa to attain general officer rank in the Confederate States Army. Ross was Texas' 19th governor and was a deciding force as a liberal reformist in Texas education. Ross became president of the new land grant college which became Texas A&M. Texas public and private education under Sul Ross witnessed integration reform ahead of its time in 19th century America.[10]

K-12 schools[edit]

Alpine is served by Alpine Independent School District. Alpine students attend Alpine Elementary School, Alpine Middle School, and Alpine High School. School colors include Purple and Old Gold, and is home to the Alpine Fightin' Bucks and Lady Bucks.

The town also features two private schools. Alpine Montessori School[11] is a private, non-sectarian, non-profit school which serves grades pre-K through 6th. Alpine Christian School is a non-denominational Christian school serving grades pre-K through 12.


Alpine is home to the Alpine Cowboys independent baseball team.[12] A member of the Pecos League, the Cowboys play their home games at Kokernot Field.


Alpine was once the home of the American humorist H. Allen Smith and briefly of novelist Nelson Algren (Man with the Golden Arm), who stole a typewriter from a classroom at Sul Ross in order to keep writing.

"Alpine, Texas" is the title of the seventh episode of the CBS Western television series Trackdown, starring Robert Culp as Texas Ranger Hoby Gilman. The episode aired on November 15, 1957. In the story line, Gilman must change the false perception that has developed among the townspeople toward the Texas Rangers.[13]

The Trackdown narrator begins:

Alpine was like a hundred other towns in Texas. The only thing it had that most others didn't was a railroad spur that connected it to the main line of the Southern Pacific. ... There is nothing unusual about this day in Alpine except that Hoby Gilman, a Texas Ranger, rode in.[14]

At the end of the episode, when Gilman succeeds in reversing the attitude of the community, the narrator concludes:

Alpine is a prosperous town again, but now there's a fine air of security about it. It's a nice town to live in, because they discovered as Hoby said they would, that when it got off its knees, it cast a much bigger shadow than it thought it did. The people of Alpine feel a lot different about a lot of things now, especially Texas Rangers.[14]

Alpine is the location of the Sonic Drive-In scene in the 1985 movie Fandango with Kevin Costner.

Post offices[edit]

  • Alpine Post Office 103 N. 13th Street, Alpine, Texas 79830-9998
  • Cpu Sul Ross Post Office 400 N Harrison Street, Alpine, Texas 79832-9991


In recent years, Alpine has served as an unofficial stop for bicyclists riding across the United States due to its location on the Adventure Cycling Association's Southern Tier Bicycle Route.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  5. ^ Alpine at the Texas Almanac
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Alpine city, Texas". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved April 22, 2014. 
  8. ^ Climate Summary for Alpine, Texas
  9. ^ Texasalmanac (PDF; 1,2 MB). Retrieved 2013_08-01
  10. ^ Texas Historical Society; Daughters of the Confederacy; The Handbook of Texas vol.2
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Trackdown". Classic TV Archives. Retrieved April 14, 2012. 
  14. ^ a b Billy Hathorn, "Roy Bean, Temple Houston, Bill Longley, Ranald Mackenzie, Buffalo Bill, Jr., and the Texas Rangers: Depictions of West Texans in Series Television, 1955 to 1967", West Texas Historical Review, Vol. 89 (2013), p. 105
  15. ^ Alpine, Texas Greyhound Lines
  16. ^

External links[edit]